Governor Lamont and Commissioner Russell-Tucker Congratulate Four Connecticut Public Schools on Being Named 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker are congratulating four public schools in Connecticut on being named by the U.S. Department of Education as 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools. This award is given annually to select schools across the nation for demonstrating overall high achievement of success in closing achievement gaps.
The four schools are:
- Booth Hill School in Trumbull
- E.O. Smith High School in Regional School District 19 (Ashford, Columbia, Coventry Eastford, Mansfield, Willington, and Windham);
- Great Plain School in Danbury
- Whiting Lane School in West Hartford
“Connecticut’s public schools are consistently rated among the best in the nation, and that is due to the teachers and staff who work in our school systems and provide a high level of learning that is helping our students achieve success throughout their future careers,” Governor Lamont said. “The ability to attract businesses and encourage them to expand and grow in our state is directly connected to the strength of our workforce and the quality of training that students receive, which is why it is critical that we provide the youngest in our communities with the tools needed to compete in today’s economy. Our administration remains committed to strengthening all of the schools in our state so that every child – no matter their neighborhood or family income level – has an opportunity to receive an education that prepares them for achievement.”
“The Connecticut State Department of Education congratulates all of the schools named Blue Ribbon Schools in 2022,” Commissioner Russell-Tucker said. “We have made it a focus this year to highlight what’s right in schools, and our Blue Ribbon Award winners are prime examples of the many innovative practices underway in districts to ensure the continued growth and educational success of our students.”
The Connecticut State Department of Education uses data from the Next Generation Accountability System to nominate schools for the National Blue Ribbon School award. Given the recent pause in accountability determinations, current recipients were nominated based on 2018-19 accountability results. Nominated schools must complete an application process and be approved by the U.S. Department of Education. All selected schools in Connecticut were designated as Schools of Distinction. National Blue Ribbon Schools are identified in two categories: exemplary high performing and exemplary achievement gap closing.
Booth Hill School in Trumbull (Exemplary High Performing)
Booth Hill School is a consistently high performing elementary school serving about 515 students in Grades K-5. This school has been identified as a School of Distinction in the accountability system for three of the last four years. Not only do the students demonstrate overall strong achievement, but they have shown strong academic growth in English language arts (ELA) for all students and for students with high needs. Their performance in science has been notable as well. In 2018-19, Booth Hill was one of only six schools statewide to achieve the state’s ultimate target for science in the accountability reports for the all-students group and students with high needs.
Booth Hill School prides itself on fostering a strong sense of community for educators, students, and families. Faculty time is committed to grade level walk-throughs and vertical planning sessions to ensure consistency of expectations and coordination across the grade levels. Student voice is elevated through a Grade 3-5 student council and student focus groups designed to inform the School Equity Leadership Team. The school has not one, but two active parent groups – the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the Fathers’ Club – committed to engaging and supporting the entire school community.
E.O. Smith High School in Region 19 (Exemplary High Performing)
E.O. Smith High School located in Mansfield enrolls about 1,100 students from a variety of other small towns including Ashford, Willington, Columbia, and Eastford. Students from Coventry and Windham are also able to attend E.O. Smith through participation in a four-year comprehensive Agri-science program. The percentage of students from economically-disadvantaged families has increased over the last decade from about 12% to more than 25% in recent years. The school maintains a strong relationship with the University of Connecticut, which is adjacent to the high school campus. This partnership affords E.O. Smith students a wide range of learning opportunities including enrolling in tuition-free college courses.
There is evidence to suggest that students leave E.O. Smith well-prepared for their post-secondary education. Based on data from the Class of 2019, 80.9% of students enrolled in a two or four-year institution within one year of graduating and more than 90% of those students were still enrolled one year later. Educators at E.O. Smith encourage persistence by allowing students to revise work and reassess progress toward learning goals. The school prides itself on a blending of high standards, mastery-based learning, and personalization with ample flexibility. They do not focus on unnecessary prerequisites and timelines. Instead, they offer guidelines and create conditions that will allow all students to improve and develop their skills as self-directed learners.
Great Plain School in Danbury (Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing)
Great Plain School in Danbury serves about 280 students in Grades K-5. More than half of the students are from economically-disadvantaged families, and one-third of the students are English learners. This school was named a School of Distinction for three consecutive years. Most recently, in 2018-19, the school demonstrated not only overall high performance in English language arts (ELA), but they were also recognized for the strong academic growth of students with high needs in mathematics and ELA.
This school takes a community approach to ensuring the best services for students. The school community including parents and staff have come together to develop a shared vision for Great Plain School. The group meets monthly to discuss student success and current challenges. Additionally, through a partnership with the Jericho Foundation the broader community is instrumental in supporting students. Jericho volunteers include retired teachers, bankers, doctors, construction workers, project managers, and nurses who work weekly with students to provide individualized attention and support. In an effort to extend learning time, the school has offered a program for students to arrive at school early four days each week using district-provided transportation so that they may participate in additional math and reading instruction and enrichment based on student need.
Whiting Lane School in West Hartford (Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing)
Whiting Lane School is one of 11 elementary schools in West Hartford enrolling about 375 students in Grades PK-5. Approximately 25% of students are identified as students with disabilities. The school hosts a town-wide program for students with disabilities in prekindergarten, referred to as the Early Learning Center (ELC). The PK program partners students with disabilities with their typical peers in a classroom that “promotes inclusion and an awareness and acceptance of differences.” These early experiences shape students’ perspectives and create an inclusive environment that permeates the school up to and through Grade 5.
Whiting Lane has earned School of Distinction status for four consecutive years (2015-16 through 2018-19) based on strong academic growth. In 2018-19, students demonstrated growth in the top 10% statewide for students overall and students with high needs in ELA and mathematics. When describing the school’s strategy for academic success, the principal identified educators’ universal high expectations coupled with ongoing efforts to establish meaningful connections with all students.
For more information about the program, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools Program webpage.